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Money for minimally invasive surgical equipment is aim of hospital run

Going the extra km for their hospital

Hundreds of runners and walkers of all ages gave of their time to participate in the 16th annual Our Hospital Walk/Run fundraiser for the North Bay Regional Health Centre.

“The turnout is good,” said North Bay Regional Health Centre Foundation President Tammy Morison.

“We’ve got almost 300 hundred participants and many, many volunteers who help make today happen. And we’re really happy to see everyone in person of course.”

This year the foundation is concentrating on raising funds for “minimally invasive surgical equipment.”

“It is a million dollar upgrade to our operating rooms to upgrade our laparoscopic surgery equipment so that we can support 4 K technology,” Morison explained.

“It enables surgery to be done using small incisions and a few stitches. Laparoscopic equipment is a thin tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing and is inserted into the body to guide the surgery. Our current system is older and it doesn’t support 4 K technology which is best practice for surgical interventions. So think of your new cellphone and your old cellphone and the pictures you get with those and the difference that technology makes,” Morison added.

“Most people are pretty surprised when I tell them that the government doesn’t fund medical equipment, that it is a partnership between the government, our hospital, and our community. Our community support really means that we can have an extra advanced level of care. We have good health care, but it helps us take it to great or exceptional.”  

The Walk/Run is one of the ways the foundation raises community awareness and support in helping to purchase much-needed advanced medical equipment.

Through donations and various fundraising events, the foundation is halfway toward reaching its goal for this particular piece of equipment.

Business owner, Foundation Trustee, and patient Gail Thomsen, serves as a reminder of why having the latest equipment is so important to patient care.

During the past few years, Thomsen has done a virtual run and is back in person this year for one purpose.

“To raise funds for our hospital, to ensure that doctors, nurses, and all who care for us have the state-of-the-art tools that they need,” said Thomsen who credits hospital staff for saving her life.

After being diagnosed with colon cancer, she underwent 10 surgeries over a span of three years. Eight surgeries were associated with her cancer, the other two were elective at which point she introduced Thelma and Louise to the crowd, her two new artificial hips, which made it possible for her to participate in this year’s Walk/Run.

“Thelma is four and Louise is three,” laughed Thomsen

“The cancer surgeries were done using both open and laparoscopic methods, and the difference between the two was significant,” said Thomsen.

“The discomfort is like hardly anything with the laparoscopic, and you have two little dots with a stitch in them as opposed to a six-inch scar right down the front so you get better an awful lot faster and it is so much easier to move around. So, I’m all for it. I was home in 48 hours and the keyhole incisions were healed within a few weeks. Large bulky dressings were not required and any discomfort was minimal.”

Thomsen says quality care is available right in our own backyard.

“A lot of people in North Bay still feel they have to go out of town in order to get good care, and they do not. We have incredible people here and the only way that we’re going to be able to keep the level of care the way it is, is to participate in things like this and give to the hospital. And I think it is really important when you’re not feeling well that you stay as close to home as possible, your family, friends and your support are there. So if people give locally, we can provide the care and people don’t have to go away.”

Dawn Lagesten brought her daughters, two-year-old Charlie and six-year-old Lagesten to help support the hospital by completing the 5 km walk.

“Especially with the last two years, I think it is important that we support the people that are supporting all of us, and getting us through what we need to get through,” said Lagesten.

“We’re in an area where we’re lucky enough to have a hospital which is nice, not everyone does and it’s nice to know we can come here for all our needs and not have to travel outside of the area.”  

The young mom believes it is never too early to instill the idea of community and giving back to her youngsters.

“Our family is a big volunteer community support family, so we need to start them now. This is a fun event so it is something they can get behind and get into other events. So absolutely it is important to bring them.”  

Another one of many families participating this year, is the Bruneau family.

Phil Bruneau, 7-year-old Elise Bruneau, Alyson Bobby, and 9-year-old Leo Bruneau dressed up as superheroes.

“It is our team name, we have another group of kids who are joining us,“ explained Bobby.

“The kids thought it would be fun to participate in this, so we went along with it,” grinned Phil Bruneau.

“It’s both fun to dress up and fun to do the Walk/Run.”

The Community Team Challenge winners will take home the coveted Silver Bed Pan Trophy.